Sunderland midfielder Dean Whitehead believes he is finally over the knee injury he suffered earlier this season.
Whitehead damaged a cruciate ligament in August (Getty)
The 26-year-old returned to action against Everton in November and has since enjoyed a regular run of games in the Black Cats' side.
He told BBC Radio Newcastle: "It's difficult when you come back from a serious knee injury.
"I feel as though I'm getting stronger. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season now."
The Sunderland captain made his name as an industrious midfielder but has been happy to fill in at right-back in many of his appearances this season.
We've brought in a lot of players, we're always going to get stronger as the season goes on
Sunderland captain Dean Whitehead
He said: "Sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself for the team and that's what I've had to do.
"Now we've got [Phil] Bardsley at right-back and hopefully I can establish myself in the middle again."
Roy Keane strengthened the Sunderland squad during the January transfer window, and Whitehead feels they are well equipped for the rest of the season.
"You look back to last year, as soon as we got a natural right-back in the four of them at the back played most of the games," he said.
"We've brought in a lot of players, we're always going to get stronger as the season goes on."